Elon Musk’s somewhat controversial plan to provide high quality satellite internet all around the world is one step closer to reality with news the network will soon open for public testing.
A rocket from Elon Musk’s SpaceX company recently dropped off a further 60 Starlink satellites in space, meaning there are now more than 700 of the things orbiting Earth.
The Tesla and SpaceX founder thinks that’s enough to start letting people use the service.
“Once these satellites reach their target position, we will be able to roll out a fairly wide public beta in northern US and hopefully southern Canada,” Mr Musk said in response to a SpaceX tweet.
“Other countries to follow as soon as we receive regulatory approval,” Mr Musk added.
RELATED: NBN’s ‘waste of money and time’
Earlier this year his company and a number of other satellite internet companies received spectrum approval from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
Mr Musk has previously demonstrated the technology does work by using one of the satellites to send a tweet last year.
RELATED: Virus delays search for new planet
Mr Musk’s plan is to send thousands of satellites into low-earth orbit to provide internet all around the world.
Currently satellites deliver internet access around the world, including as part of our national broadband network, but there are issues with speed and latency due to the satellites being so far away.
The NBN uses geostationary satellites, which are sent far enough into space (35,786 kilometres to be precise) that they orbit the Earth at the same rate as it spins, meaning the satellite stays in location over the area it’s meant to service.
Sometimes “unusual” space events can stop this from happening.
The Starlink satellites are planned to orbit at distances between 337 kilometres and 1142 kilometres from Earth, which is hoped to solve these problems.
Mr Musk is not the only person with this plan and several other companies are working toward the same goal, frustrating amateur astronomers who say the satellites block views of the sky, as well as people concerned about an increase in “space junk” when the satellites no longer work.